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Diarrhea, low hemoglobin levels, and hand-and-foot syndrome are among the common side effects of Tykerb. They are either caused by the combination of Tykerb and Xeloda (another cancer medication) or just Xeloda. There are also several potentially serious side effects that may occur, including difficulty breathing or water retention, blood in the stool, and a fever or other signs of an infection.

Tykerb Side Effects: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Tykerb® (lapatinib); however, not everyone who takes the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Tykerb. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Tykerb

Tykerb has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, in which a group of people taking the drug have side effects documented and compared to a group not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
Tykerb was studied in combination with Xeloda® (capecitabine) or Femara® (letrozole). In these studies, the most common Tykerb side effects when used in combination with Xeloda or Femara included:
  • Diarrhea -- in up to 65 percent of people (see Chemotherapy-Induced Diarrhea)
  • Hand-and-foot syndrome (redness and tenderness of the palms and soles) -- up to 60 percent
  • Low hemoglobin levels (indicative of anemia) -- up to 56 percent (see Chemotherapy and Anemia)
  • Increased liver enzymes -- up to 53 percent
  • Increased bilirubin levels in the blood -- up to 45 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 44 percent
  • Rash -- up to 44 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 26 percent.
Other common side effects of Tykerb in combination with Xeloda or Femara (occurring in 10 to 20 percent of people) included:
Many of these reactions are due mostly (or entirely) to Xeloda or Femara, not to Tykerb. In fact, nausea, hand-and-foot syndrome, and low hemoglobin levels are almost as common in people taking just Xeloda as in those taking both Xeloda and Tykerb, and are not at all common in people taking Tykerb with Femara, which suggests that these side effects are not caused by Tykerb.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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